So why are we here? We shared a lot about the need in Austria when we were preparing to come and raising support. But I was recently reminded of some important facts that I want to share with you. These come from the blog of our friends, Bobby and Danielle, who are preparing to come serve in Austria in church planting and hope to arrive in the next year.
- In America, there is one evangelical church for approximately every 1,500 people. But in Austria, there is one evangelical church for every 60,000 people. In some states, that number is 1 for every 100,000.
- Austria is an immigration center - it's centrally located and is home to one of the major UN offices. By planting church here, we have the opportunity to impact the world through those who move here from different countries.
- Less than 0.5% of the population claims to be evangelical, but more than 4% claim to be Muslim and that number is rapidly growing.
- Adherence to formalized religion is on the rapid decline. Many Austrians, however, claim to be "spiritual". This means they pick and choose from many different philosophical and theological ideas, putting together their own conglomeration of beliefs.
- Austria is a rich country...which means many people have "all that they need" and do not see a need for God. They do not recognize their own spiritual need or sin.
- There is high rate of suicide.
- Prostitution is legal and there are upwards of 6,000 prostitutes in Austria. (They actually are registered with the government, because they are required to get regular AIDS blood tests.)
- Austria is a common destination for human trafficking, especially for the sex trade.